According to an NPR story this week, The Satanic Temple of Chicago paid to have a statue installed in the rotunda of the Illinois Capitol. To accompany the traditional Christmas Nativity scene and Jewish menorah for Hanukkah, there is now a statue of an arm with a snake coiled around it; in the hand is an apple. An inscription on the front reads, "Knowledge Is the Greatest Gift."
Lest anyone worry about the use of taxpayer dollars to fund this travesty, the NPR piece assures us that the money was donated via a GoFundMe page set up by the temple, in which the temple exhorted the public to help it "bring Satan to Springfield!"
(Given the fiscal profligacy of the Illinois state government and the level of violence in Chicago, one wonders whether such help is necessary.)
The NPR piece also quotes from The Satanic Temple website, on which it attempts to rehabilitate its namesake's less-than-stellar public persona, explaining that its mission "is to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense and justice, and be directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits guided by the individual will."
Ah, the oldest trick in the Book. Satan is nothing, if not consistent. In the Old Testament book of Genesis, Satan appears in serpentine form, promising the first humans that if they listen to him and disobey God, they will "become like gods" themselves, "knowing good and evil." Similarly, the "greatest gift," which The Satanic Temple proclaims on its Springfield, Illinois, statue, is "knowledge." The clear import is that the human race is better for the knowledge of good and evil. Alas, somehow, that "knowledge" (however acquired) did not come with the ability to resist evil. Millions of human beings throughout history have suffered grievously at the hands of those who had much knowledge -- and mastery -- of evil.
That's rather conveniently overlooked by the satanic set.
Furthermore, given some of the manifestly stupid decisions we see made daily, it's an open question whether humans really do "know" evil when they see it.
The Illinois Capitol rotunda also features an explanation for the statue's presence, that the United States Constitution prohibits government discrimination against The Satanic Temple's First Amendment right of free speech.
How far can this constitutional protection be argued to extend? Can public schools be forced to permit satanic clubs for children? That was the position taken by The Satanic Temple in Seattle, Washington, in 2016, and the Tacoma, Washington, school board agreed, whereupon The Temple started the After School Satan Club at Point Defiance Elementary School. (The club had one pitiable 11-year-old girl as a member and folded after a year, but temple members assert that they plan to start such clubs across the country.)
There is something wrong when people argue that the U.S. Constitution obliges us to expose children -- children -- to evil. The drafters of that document -- theists and deists all -- would be horrified at such a perverted interpretation. (Modern satanists' assertions that satanism "isn't really evil" are not credible -- or even original. In the New Testament, Christ says, "(The devil) was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. ... (H)e is a liar and the father of all lies." (John 8:22))
It is particularly galling to read these accounts at Christmastime, even as each year brings new stories about restrictions on the ability to celebrate Christmas. A school in Virginia announced in October that no Christmas carols would be performed at the winter concert if they had religious references or the word "Jesus." A principal at a grade school in Nebraska went even further, banning "Christmas or holiday specific themed activities" (like making ornaments), as well as Christmas carols, Christmas music, Christmas movies or clip art, Christmas trees, Christmas-themed books, Santa Claus, reindeer, candy canes, and the colors red and green.
This was all done in the name of "inclusion."
Hello?? It's Christmas. The majority of the people in this country celebrate it. So "inclusion" means that the majority of Americans are excluded -- precluded from references to the biggest holiday of the year in public places? But we must install a tribute to Satan in the seat of government because the Constitution demands it?
Yes, Christmas is a Christian holiday. But Christians are citizens of this country, too.
Adding insult to injury, this is taking place at a time when conservative perspectives -- and even historical facts -- are silenced and censored by our major multinational media companies. In the spirit of Christmas all year 'round, apparently, it's a "Silent Night" (and day) only if you are conservative or Christian or both.
In Charles Dickens' short story "A Christmas Carol," Ebenezer Scrooge is confronted by the Ghost of Christmas Present and sees two pitiful, emaciated children beneath the spirit's ample robe. When Scrooge asks who they are, the spirit replies: "This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom."
Ignorance of evil is as dangerous as evil itself. Beware bringing Satan to Springfield.